Junior leads LGBT movement at Liberty Bell

Members of Philly Supports Liberty hand out LGBT rights stickers. | LAURA ORDONEZ / TTN
Members of Philly Supports Liberty hand out LGBT rights stickers. | LAURA ORDONEZ / TTN

Emily Srader has decided to turn a simple class exercise into a social media campaign.

Prompted to envision an art intervention at the Liberty Bell, Srader, a junior visual studies major, decided to apply the bell’s message to marriage equality.

As the nation waits for the Supreme Court rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marraige Act, Srader and other Temple students launched on Saturday, April 6, Philly Supports Liberty, a Facebook and Twitter campaign to rally support for marriage equality in the city.

“Why not Philly? The bell is an international icon for our American ideals as it has been used for several equality movements,” Srader said. “I just want to add one more fight to its history as opposed to doing a quick assignment for class.”

The group distributed campaign stickers and other LGBT gear to tourists and passers-by at the Liberty Bell Center for them to wear when taking pictures with the bell and then post the pictures to the campaign’s page.

“Around 1 million people visit the bell every year,” Srader said. “This is our way of turning individual action into a collective effort.”

“Stickers are the way to people hearts,” Derek Bakal, a sophomore visual studies major, said moments before he ran out of materials to distribute. “I guess we successfully reached to tourists with a higher cause.”

Srader said she hopes to join efforts with LGBT organizations across the city, several of which praised the campaign, but could not attend given that the event was promoted at the last minute.

Posters and other visual materials are available on the campaign’s page for anyone who wants to take a picture with the bell, she said.

For Eric Torres, a junior accounting major and visitor, the waiting line for the bell was smooth and fast.

“Two of the security guards took a lengthy look to my poster and sticker before they let me in, as if they were making sure we were not protesters,” Torres said.

Srader said she will hold a similar event before the end of the semester with more material and myriad entertainment.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to help people understand that marriage equality is not a gay problem, it is an American problem,” she said.

Laura Ordonez can be reached at laura.ordonez@temple.edu.

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